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31Things | Day Five: Conversation

iPhone text messagesI love to talk. I have a lot of stuff in my head and I love to share my knowledge and experiences with other people.

Well duh, you're thinking, any idiot that sees the length of your blog posts can see that. ;)

But the truth is that I have to make a real effort to connect with other people. I'm a stay-at-home mom, which I love, but I will admit that it can get tiresome having only the children to talk to. They're not much for intellectual discourse. lol I have to really work to get out in the world, to cultivate relationships and friendships, to make that human connection. It's easy to slip into hermit-mode. I think that's the thing I miss most about growing up, especially going to college - the social network that was built into school and band. That's one of the reasons I continue to enroll my kids in extracurricular activities like dance and t-ball: so that they have the chance to explore that special bond formed between people who share common interests and experiences.

MYSELF | I think that the person I talk to the most is actually myself - though I try not to do that out loud. ;) It does tend to come out when I am very tired though and then I know it's time for bed. I make lists in my head, I explore ideas for creative projects, I give myself a hard time over the way I look or all the things I haven't done and all the things I should be doing. I always try to think before I speak, especially in a situation where I'm emailing or texting or posting and I don't have body language and tone of voice to help convey the right message. I send silent prayers to God. I think a lot, about all kinds of things, and I wonder.

MY KIDS | I talk a lot to my kids, of course. Mostly questions and reminders: How was school? Please go brush your hair. It's time to go. Let's go potty. Do you have any homework? What's going on in here? Are you sure this is worth having a fit over? Leave your brother/sister alone, please. It's time to get off the computer and go do something else. What do you want for your snack today? You have five more minutes and then it will be Hannah's/William's turn for the Wii. I'm proud of you. I love you. Conversation with the kids is almost always in person. Although they are both really into video games and computer games, messaging technology is not yet a part of their lives. Recently Hannah has discovered the joy of talking on the phone, whether it's with me or her dad (seldom), her grandparents (only slightly more often), or her best friend (all the time). William is still very reticent about talking on the phone; I don't think he really understands.

iPhone text messagesMY HUSBAND | Obviously the adult that I have the most contact with is my husband. It's almost entirely in person, although we do have infrequent exchanges over the phone, or via text or email. He still carries a flip-style cell phone so he doesn't say much in his texts. We are very lucky that he almost never has to travel for work or work late hours, and when he does have to work overtime, he can usually just log in to the office through his laptop. He comes home for dinner every night, and we eat together as a family. He tells us about his day, and usually has some interesting or funny tidbit that he read or saw online. He is good about including both kids in the dinner conversation, asking about their days at school and joking around. After the kids go to bed, Chris and I discuss any problems of the day, and other "serious" adult conversations that don't necessarily need to be overheard by little ears. We make plans for tomorrow, for the weekend, and for the future. And we laugh a lot. We are silly and we make jokes and share stories and horse around and I love that. After 13 years of marriage, he is still my best friend, and there is still so much fun in our relationship.

MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES | These are some of my favorite conversations, just because when I am in the moment, I am not mom, I am not anything but myself. I talk with my horn-playing colleagues in person, with my best friends Jennifer and Bobbi mostly by texting, with Ruth by email, with my online friends in posts on Facebook or message boards or chat rooms. I am trying to do better about updating my Facebook status, posting here to my blog, and commenting on others' statuses and blogs: initiating conversation. I love to talk about scrapbooking, and horn playing, and books, and parenting, and family. With select friends about philosophy and religion and politics. I love conversations that open my eyes to new ways of seeing the world. I always try to be mindful of my audience when I speak, and to respect the differences in our beliefs and opinions.

The face-to-face experience with another person is almost an experience unto itself; so much can be communicated without saying a word. Spending time together with friends & family has always been one of my favorite things. But if I can't be with a person in person, then texting is my preferred mode of conversation. I've never been crazy about talking on the phone. And although I'm much better than I used to be about answering emails, I always feel like I have to write something lengthy and substantial - for some reason a short message just isn't good enough. And that goes double for handwritten notes. All of it takes effort, and I'm working on getting better - better at it as well as just better about doing it at all - but it's worth it for the rich relationships I reap.

With whom do you converse on a daily basis? What's your favorite way to communicate?

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